Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Sholom Podzamce
(translation incomplete)


Born on 18 September 1859 in Brzezany [Berezan], a small village in Eastern Galicia. His father was a grains trader. He learned in a cheder and in a Beit Hamedrash. Due to the fanatical piety of his parents, he wasn't able to attend any school. Even as a youth he helped his father as a prayer leader for relative Zalman Natanson, a brother of R' Yosef Shaul Natanson, author of  "Mfrshi Em." He fled from home as a choirboy with chazzan Yakov Ber the Blind, but he quickly grew tired of the days of not eating with the city balebatims, and he left and went away to someone he knew well, a supervisor in a goralnye in the village Razloy, with whom he performed in homes with two learned songs from the "Broder Singer." The audience paid him, therefore, with several zeksers, and the program was played again, this time already with an "oysgehongen tsetl" [written poster]. The revenue batreft five gilden. P. even learned several songs and traveled through the villages and towns, where it was only available in Jewish homes, performing with his "repertoire."

A year later he went with his older brother Yoske [passed away in 199?], who earlier had left home and became a "Brodersinger," and they both performed together and united then with Kavke-Dubinski and other "Brodersingers." P. also wandered across Galicia with Yoel Glantz, Yona Reizman and Herman Weinberg, then several months with Moshe Goldvurm across Hungary, and at the end of the eightieth year of the nineteenth century he began to act in Lemberg in one-acters (together with Weinberg, Reizman, Glantz and Chaim Bendl.) When Yakov-Ber Gimpel founded his Yiddish theatre in 1889, P. acted there for a short time; soon he again became a folksinger and performed in bars.

About this period, Sholem Perlmutter wrote (in 1939):

"With Sholem Podzamce, where also... more to translate....

[For details about the "Brodersinger" see the "Lexicon of Yiddish Theatre," Volume 1, pp. 216-236.]

From Galicia G. again went to Hungary, where he acted in vaudeville [there it was called "variety"], and "tsuzamengetsoygene plays" ["kestelekh (delicious)"] -- shortened plays, which was played in an hour's time.) From here he went to Vienna, together with Lukatsher, where they played "variety" in a tavern, then P. played variety in Krakow and Lember [Galicia.]

"Sholom Podzamce -- Sholem Perlmutter continues to write -- more to translate...."

According to Jacob Mestel [who began to act in Yiddish theatre in 1910 in Vienna under P.'s and Moritz Siegler's direction), P. had a "sing-act-society" concession in Vienna, already long before the First World War, and since then he has constantly acted in partnership with Yona Reizman and Herman, Moshe and Saltshe Weinberg. Later P. was a partner with Moritz Siegler's "Yudishe bine" in Vienna. Although P. had staged hipshlekh "secular", he however was a religious person and had during the last years in Vienna led a bel-habit'ish life together with his wife Reizele, who was the actual creative director. P. was an episodic role player of the old fashion and did not infrequently play women's roles ["Natasha" in Gordin's "Kreutzer Sonata"]. P. also (under Mestel's direction) was attracted to the production of the Vienna "Fraye yidishe folks-bine" and participated (in 1924) in the film production of "Yizkor," with Maurice Schwartz and the "New York Art Theatre Troupe." He was a member of the "Abraham Goldfaden Union" in Lemberg and of the Austrian (German) Bine-Farband.

On 11 March 1937 he, due to Hitler's entry into Vienna, cancelled the last production and saved himself by going to America, where he arrived in August 1939 in New York to his daughter, a sister-in-law of the deceased Yiddish theatre director Michael Sachs.

In America P. did not perform; he only attended the Yiddish theatres, where he happened upon many of his former friends and students, and he passed away in New York on 24 January 1940.

M. E., and M. E. from Yehuda Bleich and Lazar Freed.

  • Sholem Perlmutter -- Der "zayde" fun dem idishn teater in galitsye, gekumen fun vien als flikhtling keyn amerike, "Der tog," N. Y., 13 August 1939.

  • Jacob Mestel -- "Undzer teater," New York, 1943, pp. 13, 14, 22, 23, 43, 46, 49, 51 and 53.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 1602.

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